Jon Paul Morosi On WFAN: Tanaka Injury Has Heightened Urgency For Yankees To Trade For Pitcher

Joe & Evan
June 12, 2018 - 2:50 pm

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By WFAN.com

With next month's Major League Baseball trade deadline coming into sight, Jon Paul Morosi of MLB Network and Fox Sports joined WFAN's Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts on Tuesday to talk about what this means for the coming weeks.

Masahiro Tanaka’s placement on the disabled list begs the question of whether the Yankees should start looking with more urgency for a starting pitcher. Morosi said the team was “very judicious” with its offseason spending and is in a comfortable place to make a big roster move like adding a starting pitcher.

“All along, the Yankees were probably going to add a starting pitcher, and that was even before (Jordan) Montgomery went out with Tommy John and before Tanaka went to the DL," Morosi said. "I think the urgency has heightened. We know how tight the race is and will be all year with the Red Sox, and for now the internal options are not that numerous.” 

He mentioned players such as the Texas Rangers' Cole Hamels or the Detroit Tigers' Michael Fulmer and Matt Boyd as possibilities, or even looking into “the one team that’s now recently emerged as being a seller of starting pitching, the Pittsburgh Pirates.”

The Yankees have to a make some important decisions before the deadline, as this year’s race with the Red Sox feels like a revival of the heated rivalry between the two organizations. Joe and Evan asked Morosi how the race should be handicapped at the moment, assuming the Yankees secure a pitcher.

“It’s going to be a great race," Morosi said. “Assuming they still have the two best records in the major leagues, which they do right now, it’ll be the latest they’ve had the best records in MLB ... since, I believe, 2002. So that really tells us it’s getting back to that stage of the rivalry.” 

MORE: Keidel: Trading Jacob DeGrom, Noah Syndergaard Is Not The Answer

However, he believes the Red Sox have the advantage.

“The rosters, as they stand right now, I give a slight edge to the Red Sox, which I think just really accentuates all the more the needs for the Yankees to go out there and get a major, top-line starting pitcher," he said.

With the Yankees focused on pitching, Joe and Evan wondered if the Red Sox's main focus is on catching, as they seem to currently be receiving little from that position.

Morosi shared that the Sox have been watching the Royals’ Kelvin Herrera in order to “try to add one more late-inning bullpen arm, a very impactful one.” Morosi worried about changing the catching position midseason, as it often takes time to become accustomed to the environment and pitching staff of a program.

However, if the Red Sox are to take a pitcher, he thinks that the Pirates’ Francisco Cervelli would likely be their top choice. Cervelli has experienced the pressure of the AL East during his time with the Yankees.

The trade deadline also puts a spotlight on star players such as the Orioles’ Manny Machado and the Nationals’ Bryce Harper. On Machado, Morosi believes he will be traded.

“A very objective analysis here says you have to trade him, because he is someone who is very much in demand," Morosi said.

Morosi believes Machado will likely join his brother in Cleveland, where he would contribute to a strong infield.

Another option is that the Orioles re-sign him. He’s a young player who brings attention to the team. However, Morosi doesn’t seem optimistic about this happening.

“I think for Manny, if he was really willing to stay and wanted to stay, I think that deal would’ve been worked out already," Morosi said.

In terms of Harper, Morosi thinks he’ll finish the season in Washington but will be “wooed, on a greater level, by somebody else that’s not the Washington Nationals.”

And what does this trade deadline mean for the Mets? Joe and Evan said it doesn’t seem like Jacob deGrom will be traded any time soon, unless something changes in the next month or so.

“Until we see an on-the-record, boldfaced, absolute statement that says he is not going anywhere, period, full stop, then I think we always have to believe there’s a chance he’ll get moved," Morosi said. "I think that’s just a reality of doing business.”

To listen to the interview, click on the audio player above.